Serious Eats: Talk
Munchmobile Hot Dog and Burger Showdown at Monmouth Park
First off let me say that anyone could have entered this competition but few chose to. Some didn't want to pay the entry fee, some did not (or claimed to) not have employees to spare. Some wanted to enjoy the weekend and not work. And there were other reasons. Last year I actually contacted owners of hot dog restaurants to let them know about this event but no one I spoke with was interested.
Out of the 5 places serving hot dogs only 2 are actually hot dog establishments. The Windmill and Jersey Johnny's. Two others are BBQ joints that overpowered their dogs with spicy sauces, brown sugar, and other ingredients that masked the flavor of the frank, and in my opinion do not belong.
As far as the people's choice, the Windmill has won the last couple of years. But only in part because of the quality of their dog. Most people walking around are not aware that barbecue joints serve hot dogs. Or if they stop by the barbecue stands it is to sample barbecue. Six judges got to sample everything that was entered.
The hamburgers were not really good. I liked the meatball hamburger with cheese and sauce, but that is not what I really consider a burger. More like a Meatball sandwich shaped like a burger on a burger bun. The Windmill was the only offering resembling a true burger. It was dried out and no better than the prepackaged burgers that people get from the supermarket, throw on the grill, and invariably overcook.
It was fun, but there are much better burgers throughout New Jersey. The judges choice (and mine) for best dog was a standout and up there among the best that Jersey has in terms of a beef/pork frank. Precious few use the Thumann's griller and prepare it right. Mamma Marci's did and was the winner with the Windmill coming in 2nd among the judges. Jersey Johnny's made a mistake frying the griller and topping it with slaw, pickles, and pulled pork stuffed in